Playing the organ gun for those moments when you want to whistle up a cloud (VIDEO)
By Chris Eger
Don’t believe those tales you hear of only single shot muskets dominating the battlefields of yesteryear.
In the above video posted to social media by Hans-Günter Würz, a Landsknecht-period reenactor, you get the treat of seeing a 21-barreled muzzleloader on wheels get loaded and fire a salvo at a recent event in Emden, Germany. As such, the language is German and could be a recipe for knockwurst, but you get the gist of what’s going on regardless of your ability to find a bus in Berlin.
Known as organ guns (Orgelgeschütz) or salvo guns (Salvengeschütz) in Germany, such 15th- and 16th-century multi-barreled early firearms were able to lay down an impressive amount of fire at once, giving a battery of such weapons the ability to decimate a line of enemy foot soldiers or cavalry — or at least bathe them in a huge cloud of black powder smoke! Termed ribauldequins in other parts of Europe and volley guns in England, even Leonardo da Vinci came up with a few designs for such machines.
The German History Museum has a single-row five-barreled organ gun in their collection while the HGM in Vienna has a 50-barreled version dating from 1678 — you know, about a